PCH, oldest children’s home in the city Fairness

2016-10-05 06:00
PHOTO: supplied

PHOTO: supplied

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PIETERMARITZBURG Children’s Home is the oldest residential facility in Pietermaritzburg, established as the first children’s shelter in the city and KwaZulu-Natal by Mary Elizabeth Cook in 1886.

Cook had a strong desire to help orphaned children and with AW Baker’s assistance, she started the Mary Cook Orphanage in Burger Street.

Due to her ill health, it was decided to constitute a Deed of Trust, which was registered on 9 August, 1889, of which the then mayor of Pietermaritzburg was listed as an ex-officio member. After Cook’s death in 1893 the children’s home continued to function under the direction of the elected trustees.

Mary Cook Children’s Home continued to provide residential care at 370 Longmarket Street. In the late 1980s it was the first children’s home to become fully integrated to accommodate children and staff of different racial groups.

Mildred Ward had a vision to set up a facility for children in the Woodlands community, and in 1962 established the Mildred Ward Project.

In 1991 there was a merger between Hilltops Home, Mary Cook Children’s Home and the Mildred Ward Project to form Pietermaritzburg Children’s Home (PCH).

PCH occupied three premises in its 130 years of service, with its beautiful Hilltops site overlooking the city, well known to many. In 2004 PCH moved its entire operation to Woodlands, where it currently continues to provide valuable professional child care services.

The home provides residential care to over 80 orphaned or vulnerable children annually, who have been placed in our care by the children’s court.

PCH’s child care programme is in line with Section 191 of the Children’s Act of 2005, and its core focus is on the holistic development of every child.

Our 24-hour care extends to children between the ages of five and 18. However, we also offer support and care to vulnerable children over this age.

Over the past two years PCH was supported by the National Lotteries Commission and was able to build a new junior girls cottage, and their old cottage was converted and revamped into PCH’s main office block, complete with offices and a multipurpose boardroom. The old office block has now been converted into our new central kitchen and kitchen manager’s office.

Other upgrades and revamping of existing units have been made to the junior boys unit and will continue during the course of the year in both senior boys and girls units. - Supplied.

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